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Grant Major

Grant Major Big Screen Symposium 2022

Grant Major is an acclaimed production designer who most recently designed Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, garnering him his fifth Academy Award nomination. 

Born in Palmerston North, New Zealand, his career in design began at Television New Zealand. His background ranges from production design for Commonwealth Games ceremonies to designer for the New Zealand Pavilions at the World Expos and design consultant for the Louis Vuitton 150th year party in NY, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Paris. Major received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater Auckland University of Technology and in 2005 was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the New Zealand film industry. 

Grant received a New Zealand Film and Television award for Best Design on Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures in 1995. Two years later Major picked up the same award for The Ugly. His other early film credits include Jackson’s The Frighteners, Memory and Desire, The Aberrations, Jack Be Nimble, An Angel at My Table and, as art director, for Other Halves. Grant’s work as an art director for television includes telefilms Hercules and The Grasscutter, the series Hanlon, as well as commercials and news programs. Major also worked as a production designer on the telefilm The Chosen. 

Grant was nominated for three Academy Awards and three British Academy of Film Awards (BAFTA) for his work as Production Designer on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He won an American Film Institute award for The Fellowship of the Ring as well as an Art Director’s Guild Award for The Two Towers and again for The Return of the King. He finally claimed his Academy Award and a Los Angeles Film Critics Society Award on the third installment of the trilogy The Return of the King. He was nominated by the International Press Association for a Satellite Award in 2003 for both The Return of the King and his work as production designer on Whale Rider, winning for The Return of the King. 

Grant was then nominated for both an Academy Award and a BAFTA for his work as Production Designer on Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Another nomination by the Art Director’s Guild for the same film culminated in a ‘Hollywood Production Designer of the Year’ gong in 2006. 

His next film projects included Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Legend of the Green Destiny for TWC, The Emperor, Mister Pip, and The Green Lantern for Warner Brothers in 2009. 

In 2018 Grant designed the Warner Brothers film The Meg and before that the latest in the X-Men film series X-Men: Apocalypse.  

Most recently, he designed Disney’s Mulan for which he was nominated for an Art Director’s Guild award in 2021, and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, garnering him his fifth Academy Award nomination in 2022.